Not Just Black and White: A White Mother’s Story of Raising a Black Son in Multiracial America

Not Just Black and White by Anni Reinking book cover
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by Anni K. Reinking, Ed.D.

What is race? How do we define identity? How does education affect our life and relationships? Welcome to Anni K. Reinking’s world, where even the smallest occurrence of everyday life raises new questions and reflections, involving sociology, anthropology, religion and psychology, writes Italian journalist Elisa Di Benedetto, an expert in emerging cross-cultural issues around the world. In her Foreword to Not Just Black and White, Di Benedetto continues, This is Anni’s emotionally and intellectually moving memoir of her life as a white mother raising a black son in multiracial America—but it is so much more than that. While her story is based in the U.S., this is a global story. This book is an extraordinary journey towards awareness and learning. That’s how the world changes for the better—one story at a time that touches us and makes us realize we share far more with our neighbors than might seem to separate us.

America is a racially divided nation. All of us are familiar with the headlines in recent years of white Americans anxiously calling police about innocent black Americans they encounter. Among the troubling news stories are incidents sparked by black young people simply napping in a dorm room, shopping for clothing, touring a campus or holding a business meeting in a coffee shop. National reporting shows that black drivers are more likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers. In some tragic cases, young African-Americans have been killed in encounters that were fueled by mistaken impressions or outright racism.

Reinking has spent years as a researcher, scholar and educator. Her roles as mother and researcher come together in this important new book. She shares her family’s life in the hope that these stories will foster learning, discussion and new places for reflection and growth. She is honest even about her own occasional stumbling as a mother through cross-racial experiences in which she discovered how much more she has to learn. In telling those true stories, she invites readers to open up their own lives.

Writer Christine Michel Carter, who specializes in working with black families and consumers, encourages readers to embrace Reinking’s fresh perspective in this book. For years I have researched and written for the general public, advocating for equality, uncovering the challenges of black motherhood and revealing the many cultures that reside in our country, Carter writes. However, Dr. Anni is doing something I cannot: using stories of her own ignorance in hopes that it will push her colleagues outside of their own comfort boundaries and foster within them a place for growth and reflection.

Publisher’s Weekly book recommendations of African American interest
Publisher’s Weekly recommends Not Just Black and White. Click the image to visit the full online list.

This is why Publishers Weekly magazine just named Reinking’s book in its list of New and Notable Titles of African-American Interest.

Ultimately, for millions of Americans, this is a family story for our time. Anni’s father, a longtime Presbyterian minister, encourages all parents and grandparents to enjoy this book, writing, I think that every grandparent hopes for a better future, not only for their children, but for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Rev. Dr. Forrest L. Krummel, Jr.

Anni K. Reinking, Ed. D., is an Assistant Professor in the Early Childhood program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Professionally, she dedicates her time to research and writing, specifically on the topics of play-based practice, teacher preparation techniques, effective coaching and mentoring strategies, and multicultural education.

This is her first memoir. She felt a calling to write this story as divides in the country continue to widen and her son continues to grow and mature into a socially perceived Black man in America. With the support of her family, colleagues, and friends, Dr. Reinking has written several articles, a textbook, and now a memoir focused on race in America, specifically how it impacts the lives of children and diverse families.

Anni lives with her husband, son, two step-daughters, and two cats (Donut and Zoey) in Central Illinois. As a family they stay busy exploring and finding new adventures, from hiking trails to music concerts, to visiting as many zoos as possible. Anni is a popular writer, speaker, teacher and workshop leader.

Not Just Black and White: A White Mother’s Story of Raising a Black Son in Multiracial America
Anni K. Reinking
Read the Spirit Books, an imprint of Front Edge Publishing, LLC
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About Susan Stitt

Susan Stitt is marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. Over the years, she has guided many authors through the challenging process of launching books and developing strategies that will grow readership. She also has worked widely with nonprofits. Now, she shares her expertise twice each month on our Front Edge Publishing website.

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